19 May 2011

An aromatic progression of flowering trees of NYC

The blossoms of the early spring flowering trees - ash, maple, oak - are wind pollenated, and have no discernible scent; they release tons of pollen - and when inhaled by people, creates an immune response that leaves many miserable... until the spring rains wash it all away. The next batch of flowering trees are the "seminiferous" Rosaceae. Pears, crabs, cherries and other trees of the rose family are unfortunately not endowed with the lovely character of the traditional rose. Smelling like spunk, they bloom around the same time as the magnolias, which have an ancient terpenoid fragrance - not unpleasant, but not inspiring. Pretty soon the lilacs, which are really a shrub, fill the air with the scent of grandma. It's delicate & old-fashioned. Then, after the abundant spring rains, the sun comes out and the days heat up. That's when the black locust trees explode with cascading displays of white, pendulous curls of flower. The warm, humid, nighttime air fills with the wondrously sweet fragrance, ripe with the possibilities of summer. It's my favorite. It signals the end of the cold for good. Around this time, there's one tree (is it a Nyssa spp.?) that smells of cat urine. Then as spring officially moves into summer, the delicate linden trees remind us that summer has officially begun...

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